Alfred Forder

17523, Private, 2nd Battalion. Bedfordshire Regiment.

Missing In Action on the 30th July 1916 aged 30.

Thiepval Memorial, Somme.

He arrived in France on the 9th June 1915 and served continuously on the Western Front. On the 30th July 1916 his Battalion were taking part in the Somme Offensive and the plan of attack was for 30th Division to move due East and capture the German second line of defence between Falfemont Farm and Guillemont. The task was a big one where, in one place, the 89th Brigade had to advance for a distance of over a mile of big rolling countryside. Prior to the general advance a subsidiary attack was planned on Maltzhorn Farm. At 22.00pm on the 29th July the battalion moved up to its assembly positions South of Bernafoy and Trones Wood. The Germans shelled the battalion with Tear Gas and a new sort of Gas that caused violent stomach pains and headaches amongst the men. "A" Company attacked Maltzhorn Farm with a battalion of French troops and although they did not hold the Farm the attack was deemed a success. About 70 - 80 German troops were taken by surprise in a trench running North to South through the Farm and were, with one exception, all killed.

"A" Company returned to the battalion having suffered about 30 casualties. By this time a fog had come up and made things extremely difficult for the assaulting troops to determine the line of attack. This was then compounded by heavy shelling from the German artillery and the whole attack started in a very lose direction. After much confusion the fog lifted at about 11.00 am and it was discovered that the attack had failed. The subsidiary attack and the main assault had cost the battalion over 200 casualties. It is not known whether Alfred Forder was killed in the subsidiary or main assault, as his body was never recovered from the battlefield. Another Stevenage man, Private George Draper, who was serving in the same Battalion, was also to lose his life in the assault.

Alfred Forder has no known grave and his name is recorded on the Thiepval Memorial, Somme, France. (Pier/Face 2C.)

Medal Entitlement: 1914/15 Star, British War Medal & Victory Medal.

Posted in .